Education Best Practices

Every Brain is a Math Brain

How a Tutoring App Helps Build a Positive Mindset and Boost Critical Thinking

At Yup, we know that no two students learn the same way! Some students are visual learners who process information with help from images and spatial relations. Other students may prefer to talk through concepts to understand them. No matter how they prefer to learn, we believe that every student deserves personalized instruction tailored to their needs. When tutoring is unique to individual students, they can expect to gain a deeper understanding, grow their confidence, and feel motivated to continue on their academic journey.

This belief is a Yup cornerstone and a North Star that guides the development of our teaching methods and technology. In this post, we’ll dive into Growth Mindset and Socratic Method, and explain how Yup tutors use them to make sure our students are learning.

Growth Mindset

Yup is backed by academic experts and built by former education professionals. We set out to create the most effective math tutoring solution for today’s students, with specific core principles guiding the way. One of those principles is building a Growth Mindset in our students.

Growth Mindset was pioneered by Carol Dweck, Ph.D., a prominent professor and international expert on psychological motivation. Dweck’s most renowned research distinguishes two mindsets that learners hold about themselves and their abilities. People who subscribe to a Fixed Mindset believe that intelligence and ability are immovable and that they’re unlikely to change. Someone with a Fixed Mindset may believe that they’re simply “not a math person” and resign themselves to this self-fulfilling statement.

To contrast, those possessing a Growth Mindset are open to developing their intelligence and ability and recognize that challenge is part of the learning journey. People who subscribe to a Growth Mindset see mistakes and failures as opportunities to grow and improve.

Our tutors receive professional development to become versed in Growth Mindset theory, and instruction so that they know how to reach students with Fixed Mindsets. One way that this is accomplished is through the use of encouraging language in sessions.

Say for example Yup student Dylan is having a hard time on his Geometry problem set and feels stuck. “I’m not a math-brained person.” Dylan’s Yup tutor Mr. Leibtog recognizes how frustrating that can feel, and offers positive reinforcement. “You’re almost there! Why don’t we try this approach instead?” By staying encouraging and providing Dylan with an alternative approach to solving a problem, Mr. Leibtog is supporting and empowering Dylan so his mindset can shift over time.

A recent follow-on study by Dweck corroborates her groundbreaking original work. The journal Nature recently published a national experiment on how Growth Mindsets inform development and achievement. The study found that students who received 25 minutes of Growth Mindset conditioning earned higher grades than their 9th-grade peers who did not receive the intervention.

Dweck’s lifelong research supports the idea that positive and supportive learning environments can truly help students thrive.

Socratic Method

Before diving into the next pillar of our teaching methods, we should address a common education misconception that strong teaching is always someone explaining a concept to you. Some students absolutely learn in this context, but it’s worth acknowledging that many students require more active engagement for long-term learning to take place.

Now, let’s dig in. Socratic Method, method of Elenchus, elenctic method, Socratic debate. Whichever name you know it by, it’s likely that you’re familiar with the concept, either by way of school or pop culture. Socrates is among the most well-known Greek philosophers for many reasons, including his namesake methodology of engaging in conversation.

Socrates developed this method to aid teachers and learners in getting to the root of the problem at hand. By asking one another questions, both sides of the conversation can gain valuable context to better understand each others’ perspective. Perhaps most importantly for building long-term learning, Socratic Method also encourages the learner to think critically. Taking an active role in learning by actively answering questions is much more conducive to learning and true comprehension than passively receiving instruction or answers.

Of course, these are just a few of the ways in which Yup supports personalized, one-on-one learning with our on-demand math tutoring app. Read more about our technology and teaching methods on their pages, and learn about how to get Yup for your student here!

Now, let’s get learning!

Luisa Isbell
Content Manager